Medicinal Properties

Licorice is known throughout the world for its wide variety of medicinal properties. The reason for these properties can be linked to a certain compound found within the roots of the plant known as Glycyrrhizic Acid. This acid, seen to the right, is said to be capable of treating ulcers and asthma or causing serious health problems if taken in large enough doses. This acid is found in higher concentrations in the fibrous root system which grows closer to the surface rather than the tap root which grows deeper.


Beneficial Properties:

The following are afflictions that may be treatable with the help of licorice intake;

-Peptic Ulcers
    There are mixed results that show licorice taken with antacids can help to treat ulcers.

-Canker sores
    Gargling dissolved licorice may help with pain relief

    It has been found using a licorice gel with 2% concentration of Glycyrrhizic acid can help
    relieve itching, swelling, and redness.

    Studies have shown that using an herbal formula known as Iberogast, which also contains the
    anti-indigestion ingredients peppermint and chamomile, can reduce indigestion. It is
    unclear whether the licorice had an effect or not.              

-Upper Respiratory Infections
    Licorice has been found to help with symptoms associated with asthma. The results are
    mixed and inconclusive whether the licorice had an effect.

-Weight loss
    A study found that normal weight patients who took 3.5 grams of licorice a day for 2 months
    exhibited lowering in levels of body fat. However, taking licorice over extended periods of time
    is known to cause many medical problems and is not advised.


Toxic Properties:

While licorice is capable of treating a multitude of symptoms, precautions must be made when considering to take licorice as an alternative medicine. Most licorice related supplements and medicines contain around 2% Glycyrrhizic acid. It has been found that reaching a daily intake of 100mg-400mg of Glycyrrhizic acid can cause many serious health problems. It is recommended that a safe amount for consumption would be around 10mg/day. If this is exceeded the acid can cause;

-Electrolyte imbalance
-Increased blood pressure
-Oedema (collection of fluid under the skin)
-Heart attack
-Problems related to high blood pressure and heart problems


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